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Recess Talking Points

As members of Congress left late last week for Thanksgiving recess, their leaders loaded them down with memos, talking points and other information designed to keep them on message over the two-week break. With fights over the recently-passed budget bill and the war in Iraq dominating the final days of the session, both sides are hoping the recess briefing packs will help individual lawmakers sell the party line to their constituents.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) distributed information on the budget, the national energy situation and the Medicare prescription drug plan, according to communications director Brendan Daly.  Pelosi is also keeping an active travel schedule. On Tuesday she spoke at the Seafarers International annual luncheon in San Francisco.  Pelosi will travel to Harvard University on Dec. 2 to make a speech on the Democrats' "innovation agenda" and will bookend that address with fundraising events in Boston and New York City.

Not to be outdone, House Speaker Dennis Hastert distributed talking points on the economy, Iraq and the deficit reduction bill to the rank and file, said his spokesman Ron Bonjean. Hastert will join Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as well as the other members of House and Senate leadership and their staffs at a "leadership retreat" in St. Michael's, Maryland, from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Aside from Frist's attendance at the retreat, his office had few details about his schedule or the any briefing information distributed by his office to Republican senators. Frist is currently at home in Nashville.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a memo to Democratic senators aimed at reviewing 2005 and preparing them for 2006, said spokesman Jim Manley.  "The opportunity for the party and the country could hardly be better," Reid wrote.  He urged his caucus members to host town hall meetings over the recess centered around the theme "America Can Do Better," which seems likely to be the centerpiece of the much-anticipated Democratic agenda that is set to be unveiled in the new year.  Reid is also going to Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida, over the recess to raise money.

Check back on Friday for the next Fix posting.  Happy Thanksgiving!

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 23, 2005; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
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